Vigils Continue After Questionable Death Of Colton School Student; Little Info From Police or School
UPDATED 11:00am THURSDAY, April 14, 2016:
For the second time this week, hundreds of parents and other community members attended a public vigil last night (Wednesday) at an elementary School in Colton. Organizers say the vigils are to express grief and concern over the death of a 12-year-old student who died Tuesday on school grounds during school hours. The student’s parents believe their son’s death may have been the result of bullying by another student. Colton Unified School District officials dispute that, suggesting instead that the boy’s death may have been related to a medical condition. While the Colton Police Department has not been forthcoming with information for the parents or the public, The San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office will begin an autopsy today, and could have some information on the cause of death soon. KVCR's Natalya Estrada filed this report yesterday.
Death Of 12-Year-Old Student At Colton School Under Investigation
TUESDAY, April 13, 2016 A twelve year old elementary school student died Tuesday at his school in Colton. Authorities are still trying to figure out the exact cause of his death. While many community members - including the child's father - believe it was a direct result of bullying, the coroner has not revealed what happened at Grant Elementary School. KVCR's Natalya Estrada filed this report yesterday.
Detectives are still investigating the circumstances of the child's death. Dominick Gallegos collapsed after playing soccer yesterday during a PE class. His father, Joel Gallegos, says he was told that his son fell and was then taken to Arrowhead Regional hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Katie Orloff, Colton Unified Communications Manager says that the school is doing everything they can to ensure that parents are informed about the situation as it develops and want to make every effort to keep the community safe and has several crisis counselors at campus today.
“Of course it’s hard to come back to school the day after something happens, but it makes it a supportive environment for everyone and it gives it a way to start healing together.”
Orloff says the cause of his death has not been confirmed at this point, but many parents - including Joel Gallegos - believe his son was a victim of bullying. There have been reports that Dominick fell on the ground and then another child stomped on his chest.
“Bullying has been an ongoing focus in this district and regardless of any sort of incident that may or may not have happened and I really need to reiterate that our preliminary information by the coroner’s office and colton pd has not released any evidence that this was trauma related.”
Resource Officer Smith of the Colton Police Department says that the Coroner’s office investigation is ongoing and all details have not yet been solidified.
Parents at Grant Elementary have different feelings about the incident. Veronica Gonzales has two sons attending this school and feels uneasy about what happened.
“I’m scared. That’s my concern, that’s why I’m still here, trying to find out what happened and if our kids are even safe in this school.”
Other’s feel there’s a disconnect and lack of communication within the district. Claudia Campos feels like she should have been notified but says she didn’t even get a phone call about a death at her son’s school.
“They’re not gonna call us. Because I didn’t get a call. The principal shoulda came out and faced this thing with the parents.”
Meanwhile dozens of concerned parents continued to question school administrators.
The San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office has yet to release further information on Gallegos and the confirmed cause of death.
Listen for more on this story Tuesday on All Things Considered and Wednesday on Morning Edition on 91.9 KVCR.